Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is calling on the
United States to stay in Afghanistan for at least five more years.
Hours before President Barack Obama delivers an address where he is
expected to announce that U.S. forces will begin leaving Afghanistan in
July 2011, Mr. Qureshi said Washington should not leave until its
Afghan mission is complete.
He said Pakistan will formally respond to Mr. Obama's plan after his address Tuesday evening.
The top United Nations official in Afghanistan responded to reports
about Mr. Obama's address by urging U.S. officials to adopt a
"transition strategy" that allows Afghan authorities to gradually take
on more responsibilities.
Special representative Kai Eide says President Obama may be considering such a strategy.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said the two men spoke for about
an hour about the strategy on Tuesday. A spokesman did not elaborate on
Mr. Karzai's reaction.
In Kabul, one of Mr. Karzai's political opponents questioned whether Mr. Obama's strategy announcement is premature.
Parliament member Daud Sultanzoi says he is surprised Mr. Obama is
unveiling his strategy before President Karzai has his new government
in place. Mr. Karzai was sworn in for a second term in November.
Sultanzoi says it will be difficult for the United States to hold a new
Afghan government accountable when that government technically does not